Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bipartisanship and working for the White House

"You'd have to be a Republican to work for the current White House" remarked one of R-'s friends, after learning that I am deferring Cornell to take a job as CEA economist in the Bush administration.

Of course the converse was also said back when I was an intern for the Clinton administration.

One of the ideals I hold dear is that partisanship is orthogonal to good governance. The writers of The West Wing seem to agree (why I love that show).

According to the NYTimes, the original plan for this season was that the Republican (played by super liberal Alan Alda) was supposed to be elected president. Despite the fact that the show's heroes are mostly Democrats, it would have been fitting to end the show on an up note with a Republican victory. Alan Alda's character continues the line of good Republicans from John Goodman's presidency, to the Speaker of the House in the first episode, to the eminently likable republican lawyer Ainsley Hayes.

Leo's death changed things so that the show's creators decided to have the Democrat win, which bummed me out until I saw that they would do even better; they would maybe make the Republican, the Vice President for a Democratic presidency. The first split ticket since the disasterous cantankerous Adams administration, but a resounding reaffirmation of the message of bipartisan governance. Great stuff.

I still like Ainsley's quote that I wrote about a couple years ago. When her Republican friends were making fun of her colleagues in the show's Democratic administration, her reply:

"The people I have met have been extraordinarily qualified. Their intent is good. Their commitment is true. They are righteous, and they are patriots... Is it so hard to believe, in this day and age, that someone would roll up their sleeves, set aside partisanship, and say, 'What can I do?' "
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